10/13/22 : Corey
Twenty year old Corey Phelan passed away last evening. He valiantly battled, never losing faith. Corey was a left handed pitcher in the Phillies organization but most importantly he was a bright, energetic and caring person. Everyone I spoke with today that knew him spoke of his genuine friendship and welcoming nature.
Today was a somber day for everyone in the organization, players at the complex were told of Corey’s passing shortly before noon in a team meeting. This afternoon I corresponded with many in the hope of being an outlet for their grief. The standout persona of this organization is in it’s heart - regardless of how many personnel changes occur there’s a consistent presence of caring for one another that continues. It was evident again this morning at the complex - the heartfelt consideration for Corey and his family.
Multiple players shared with me how Corey approached each day with such energy and positivity - he was infectious as a friend and teammate. Many described him as a brother, one who could always make them smile. Over the past few years I’ve been fortunate to interact with many players and families including Corey a bit.
When Corey initially began his treatments we texted back and forth and I offered our support like many others. He always thanked me for checking in and was looking forward to getting back to Clearwater to resume his baseball career. Corey never seemed to doubt he would win his battle, the last we corresponded he was readying himself for more treatments in hopes of getting cancer free. The thing that always stood out to me was his sincereness and thoughtfulness - always asked how I was doing despite the struggles he was going thru.
I believe he truly was inspired by how the big league club interacted with him this summer, inviting Corey and his family to the stadium and into the clubhouse. It’s my firm belief that he also inspired them - it seemed impossible to not be - the fight and perseverance he exemplified couldn’t help but be contagious.
Corey played in only five official Complex League games in his pro career - he was signed in August of 2020 - the year lost to the Pandemic. We first saw him in Fall Instructs that season. All five of his pro appearances came in 2021, he pitched very well, we saw all the things we look for in pitching talent - moxy, skill, competitiveness and pitch movement. It made us want to see more. I told him that, he seemed to appreciate the message and helped him to battle.
I told many players today that the best way to honor Corey was to continue the grind, to play the game the way he so longed to continue to do, to never give up.
The Phillies Player Development team has a mantra “Protect the Standard” - it stands for a variety of well defined purposes and paths to follow. Corey Phelan lived many of those ideologies and concepts, he personified them, he was his own standard.
Life is to worship, baseball for many of us is embedded within it. Organizations within baseball often become a kindred spirit, entrenched in our soul and passion for the game. When life is lost within that extended family it hurts - it’s heartfelt and it’s sincere - our condolences are real.
By all accounts his family are as genuine and caring as we found Corey to be. His faith was undeterred and a strength - I am hopeful that type of faith helps his loved ones get thru these sad times and to eventually remember him in the positive light he shined.
Rest In Peace Corey - I surely hope I get to see ya pitch again someday.
Today was a sad day but in honor of Corey we look ahead to more Happy Days and Happy Baseball going forward. I think he would want us to.
Photo by Mark Wylie